Trade Directories covering Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire & Worcestershire

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<script type=text/javascript src=http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show ads.js></script></div></p>Ancestry.co.uk have added to their Trade Directories collection with directories which cover the Midland counties of Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. This release adds another 350 trade directories to the already large collection on offer.

These books can be a great help when compiling a family history.

What are Trade Directories?

Trade directories vary depending on the company which compiled them, but at their best they start with a description of city, town or village including vital information as to when the post box is emptied to when the last train leaves the local station for the day. The parts that gets genealogists excited are the listing of all the tradesmen in the town and also often a street by street listing of who is the main householder in each dwelling.

Some directories charged tradesmen to have an entry in the directory so you can’t be sure that everyone is included and it is best to bear in mind that often there was a gap of up to a year between the gathering of the information and the printing and distribution of the directory.

The directories date from the 1600’s to the 1900’s. The earlier ones have less information and are quite rare, but the Victorian period 1837 – 1901 offers many good examples.

What will I find in Trade Directories?

Below are three screen shots of details that can be discovered using the directories. The first is a transcript of a directory of Bristol dated around the 1790’s. The second is a scan of the original page of the entry for Mevagissey, Cornwall taken from The Universal British Directory 1791. The third is taken from the 1850 Bagshaw’s Directory of Cheshire.

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Where will I find Trade Directories?

Ancestry.co.uk have an extensive collection of directories and it is well worth checking to see if your ancestors feature in the pages.

www.ancestry.co.uk

 

Victoria County Histories

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<script type=text/javascript src=http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show ads.js></script></div></p>The series of books known as the Victoria County Histories are a goldmine for family historians and those interested in local history. The series started in 1899 and the project was dedicated to Queen Victoria hence the name. It was a massive undertaking to write a complete history of the land, places and prominent people of each English county, but the Victorian were ambitious people and obviously the founders of the VCH thought it could be completed. I think they would be surprised to find that the project is still being worked on and completion is a little way off.

The model for each county was that the topography, geology, flora, fauna and history would be covered, each area was to be written by a eminent specialist and the books were to be scholarly. Each set of county books ran into several volumes and most large libraries subscribed and still subscribe to the series.

What is in Victoria County Histories for the genealogist?

The volumes of interest are the ones in which the county is broken down into parishes. Each parish contains a history dating back as far as it is possible to go, even back to the Domesday Book of 1086 if it was recorded. There is mention made of prominent buildings such as the vicarage or rectory, the manor house and other landowners homes.

The history and lists of the inhabitants of the manor or manors within the parish, and theVictoria County Histories<p><!   Google Ads Injected by Adsense Explosion 1.1.5   ><div class=adsxpls id=adsxpls3 style=padding:7px; display: block; margin left: auto; margin right: auto; text align: center;><!   AdSense Plugin Explosion num: 2   ><script type=text/javascript><!  

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<script type=text/javascript src=http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show ads.js></script></div></p> history and incumbents of the church. Mention is also made of any chapels attached to the parish church and also any non conformist meeting houses or chapels. Descriptions of charities set up to administer monies and properties left, often for the relief of the poor of the parish, in the wills of parishioners are recorded. Mention might also be made of any mills and fisheries within the parish.

There are also often sketch drawings of the church, manor house, coats of arms etc.

Where can Victoria County Histories be found?

Most major libraries will have the histories for their county and some may have a complete run of all counties published so far. County Record Offices will almost certainly also have copies. Copies of the histories can be purchased from the Institute of Historical Research who now run the project. However the cost per volume can be as much as £100.

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The British History Online website offers copies of the volumes on the internet free of charge and this is the main source that most genealogists use. Simply put the name of the parish you are interested in the search box on the front page of the web site, click and then scroll down the list of hits and chose the one that says “A History of the County of …..”. This will take you to the relevant page.

These histories will give you much valuable background information on the parishes in which your ancestors lived and worked. Occasionally you may even find your ancestors named and if they were holders of manorial rights then a line of succession to those rights will be listed. Take a look at these parish histories and I am sure you will soon be including them in your files for all your families.

http://www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/Default.aspx

More Dorset Records on Ancestry.co.uk

More Dorset Records on Ancestry.co.uk

My friend Judy will be so pleased with the latest release on www.ancestry.co.uk, not that her tree is full of pirates & rascals !! The six new datasets added today are as follows -

Calendars of Prisoners 1854 – 1945
These records take you back to the trials and often include detailed accounts of the offences.

Transportation Records 1730 – 1842

Prison Registers 1782 – 1901

Jury Lists 1719 – 1922
Even if you only have law abiding folk in your family they may appear in this list.

Militia Records 1757 – 1860

Land Tax Returns 1780 – 1832
These records are often under rated by historians, they actually are almost a list of heads of households for an area.

I think Ancestry must be working their way through the Dorset Record Office. What a great joy it is to have access to these records from home.

www.ancestry.co.uk

Technorati Tags: Calendars of Prisoners,Transportation Records,Prison Registers,Jury Lists,Militia Records,Land Tax Returns,Dorset Archives,Ancestry.co.uk,Family History,Genealogy

 

 

The Waterways Trust

The Waterways TrustThis website is a must for those with ancestors who worked the canals. The site includes the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester Waterways Museum and the Canal Museum, in Northamptonshire. The archives of the trust hold a host of material concerning the history of canals & inland waterways, include early canal companies records, boat-building plans, working records, accounts, letters and photographs.

Remember that if you have family who were canal folk then search along the canal for churches were children may have been christened, family members buried and where marriages might have taken place. Canal people weren’t attached to a static parish, but it is known that some families did favour certain churches along the canal route.

http://www.thewaterwaystrust.org.uk/

Technorati Tags: Canals,The Waterways Trust,Museum,Archives,Genealogy,Family History

Local History Online

Local History OnlineLocal history goes hand in hand with family history and I have found that most genealogists are also keen local history fans. This website offer links to 654 Local History Societies and information on another 561 societies that don’t have a presence on the internet.

Worth a look to see if your ancestors area is covered as many of these societies have transcriptions of tombstone and even sometimes parish registers online.

http://www.local-history.co.uk